The future isn’t dead. However, there are many aspects of present day society that either seem precarious or altogether unstable if not handled properly as we progress through the upcoming US presidential election and beyond. Nothing in life is ever certain, and there aren’t many aspects of nature that humanity can really control… At least not with our current technologies. That being said, society runs by pushing back against the resistance of nature and time. COVID-19 has introduced a few problems and has exacerbated many others.
The major issues that I see are public health, resource management, economy, foreign affairs, and energy. Economy sits at the center of my list for a reason. The first two points are directly related to the COVID pandemic and will inevitably lead to economic fallout (and we’re already experiencing the beginning of that). The last two are both factors in the COVID crisis and highly integrated into our domestic and the overall global economies. What happens next? How should we be thinking about the future? We can either struggle to maintain the previous status quo, or we can use the crisis as an opportunity to evolve.
Intuitively, you would think that fighting the problem head on and tackling the public health aspect first would be best. Maybe, maybe not. If the other aspects are not heavily considered when acting at the public health level, things may start to unravel. Thinking inversely would likely have a similar result. The hinge is the economy. Think long term, as pandemics tend to last several years. The United States government is currently under scrutiny because our leadership did not take the health issue seriously. Masks were not worn and things re-opened, allowing people to believe the crisis was over. Meanwhile, many of the companies that realized they could not be sustained in a COVID world closed indefinitely, and many other small businesses went bankrupt. By many accounts, including that of Aria Bendix of Business Insider, the situation is still growing worse.
Serious consideration needs to be given to the long-term effects of the quarantine, especially in the United States, especially during an election year. However, the situation is far from bleak. Considering the problem is important. Considering the potential solution is even more important, especially in a democracy. The worst case scenario of a cataclysmic economic crash on a global scale, resulting in a massive war is not OK for anyone on this planet. The honest truth though, is that our world leaders are primitive emotional beings. They are not different, smarter, or more responsible than you. Yet, they have war machines, and you don’t. Technology and science continue to push forward, and with all the advances we have, the future could be great. The near future. Sustainable, lacking an energy crisis, and without hungry masses. If and when the money they crave means nothing… What do you think they’ll want to do? Is there an alternative? Of course. Do they see it? I don’t think so. Do you? You will.
The United States has survived a previous pandemic, the Great Depression, and two World Wars. Back then, the cost of war was low. Today, the potential cost of war is the planet. But I’m saying there exists a future where everyone in power wins and the people all benefit. The trick will be to convince the world to drop the oil conflict (and profits).
Lockheed Martin is the company responsible for much of America’s aerospace, defense, arms, national security, and advanced technologies. One of their major projects is a compact nuclear fusion reactor that could power an entire city from the back of a pickup truck… For a long time. Long enough to find other, even more sustainable alternatives to oil. In the absence of oil, there will always be other economic prospects to keep governing bodies haggling, arguing, and competing. Competition is key.
Let’s also consider the fact that the United States owes more than 22 trillion dollars to the collective world, and only has 1.5 trillion dollars in physical circulation. Also consider that those 1.5 trillion dollars are not directly backed by any particular resource. There used to be a certain amount of gold in the US treasury for every dollar in circulation. That ended 50 years ago. Today, the oil industry, hospitality, and entertainment are primarily responsible for the value of our money. The rest of the world could cut the US off. We pose a health risk. If the dollar is suddenly useless, the country would destroy itself.
Enter the digital age. Consumable, finite resources are great as tools for barter, in a developing economy. However, those things are unstable, as perceived values ebb and flow with the trends of the day. Gold was always a good standard because it was highly valued as a novelty. It’s pretty. Rather than fall back to something like that, we now have currency, resources, that exists outside of the consumable, physical domain. Data. If you haven’t heard about Bitcoin, read up a little at CNN. It’s confusing, but the short story is that mathematics in computing can be used to generate pieces of data that have a limit. The formulas (algorithms) can only produce a set number of pieces. Once they’re all created, no more can be made.
This is a good thing for economics. Rather than use gold (which is consumed in producing parts for computers) or another physical resource, digital currency can be used to govern the market. This is a VERY good thing. A global economy can be created that preserves all of the nations’ individual currencies and CAN NOT succumb to inflation. It also can not produce a bubble effect wherein an economy can crash because the underlying resource is spent. Couple this with an end to the energy crisis, and the need to fight over resources, including territory, becomes unnecessary. Culture is also preserved this way, as nations identify with their land, their wealth of natural resources, and their own history. The truth is, this is happening passively as the currency is being developed, whether you know it’s happening or not. But then, knowledge is power.
The current world dynamic is healthy. All of the nations have something to contribute, but many have black oil blinders on. Others just don’t care. Of course, any country could attempt to take over everything, but why? The only result would be mass devastation. Complete loss. The prize DOES NOT EXIST. The more you know about this, and the more you can talk about it, the less tension there will be at the highest levels. In the United States, we currently have conservatives fighting liberal “resisters” over a problem that really doesn’t exist. It’s not relevant (it is, but only at the domestic level, and the domestic level does not exist in global failure).
Yes, Biden should take office. But this is a democracy. Do NOT let your president or government tell you what needs to happen. It is your duty to tell your government how to behave. Two hundred years ago, this was easier. There weren’t extreme opposing branches of US government. Not like today. The social issues were not present. Controversial technological advancements were not present. Global communication was not present. To cross from the UK to the US was incredibly time consuming. This is not our forefathers’ world. It is what it is. I think we all need to know what it is we’re dealing with.
The solution requires teamwork, and it requires a global market. Not a global governing body, but cooperation where cooperation is necessary. It isn’t socialism. It isn’t communism. It is sustainable democracy in America, and capitalism globally. Real capitalism. Not a resource war.
So what should you do, and what am I really saying? I’m saying talk. Research. Understand the world you live in. Things are going to change, whether you like it or not. Change is constant. Ask your presidential what how he or she expects to deal with the economic crisis. I’m also saying, the dominos are set up, and they’re set up to run completely through. The only thing that can stop the process is human greed, based on lack of understanding. Someone high up could react rather than allow this part of history to play out. If they let it go and watch, they’ll be glad they did.